Olivet School of Media and Communication


Journalism Students Practice Audience Engagement on Social Media

In the social media management class, journalism students explore various ways to engage the audience on social media with ethical responsibility in mind.

Social media has become a major player in the media world as a tool for communication and disseminating news. Journalists today must develop skills to utilize social media for breaking news, story leads, gathering information and curating content. Building and engaging audiences through social media is another required competence as media professionals. Web traffic analytics shows that social media such as Facebook and Twitter accounted for a large percentage of page views.

Second-year graduate student Zike Zhang was not particularly active on Facebook and Twitter to read news and find leads prior to taking the social media management class. But now he’s involved with a local ministry that starts Facebook brand pages. Zhang is learning to manage those pages on a daily basis though studying the best practices for social media in class. He finds the learning experience complete by actually creating posts and conversing with the audience.

“The social media class is pretty useful for me. When I manage my Facebook brand page, I realize that more important than growing the number of followers is to build a genuine relationship with my audience. This means I need to listen carefully to know their thoughts and needs,” Zhang said.

Since an enormous amount of information is being shared on social media and anyone can post anything without verification, Zhang said he realized the challenges that social media pose on journalism.

“The question for people today is whether or not to use social media, but how to use social media responsibly. The line between professional journalists and amateurs becomes blurred. But to me, challenges means opportunities. I will try my best to apply journalism ethics on social media and contribute positively to the conversations,” Zhang added.


DC Journalism Students Experience Personal Growth Through Ministry Internship

Olivet School of Media and Communication (OSMC) Washington D.C. campus offers various ministry internship opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students. Undergraduate sophomore Abby Peng and senior graduate student Sarah Murugan, who transferred from Riverside main campus to D.C. last year, reflect on their personal growth and professional development.

What do you do for your Ministry Internship in D.C.?

Abby: I write for a local church and preschool about their activities and development. The articles are published in their weekly bulletin.

Sarah: I intern for The Christian Post as a news reporter. I find leads from Christian organizations and news outlets to report about issues that concern Christians in India.

How does the internship prepare you for serving in the media ministry?

Abby: The internship provides me opportunities to practice interviewing and writing. As English is my second language, keep practicing it does help improve my communication skills.

Sarah: The internship broadens my knowledge and sense of news judgment. It sharpens my perspective to look at current events from a Christian point of view. Though I still have so much to learn, now I begin to have a strong desire to know the truth and report it without fear, which I think is important to my future ministry.

What is the greatest lesson you learned from your internship?

Abby: The greatest lesson I have learned from my internship is to cultivate curiosity about things happening around me and find more interesting leads.

Sarah: Persistence and persistence. There is no easy way out to good reporting.

What is your aspiration as a media professional?

Abby: I wish I can write more articles to encourage the Christian body and spread the good news to testify to God’s work.

Sarah: I want to be a journalist who speaks on behalf of those who are ignored and denied justice, telling the truth without bias.


Riverside Media Team Continues Work on Olivet Seminary Lecture Video Project

The Media Team at Olivet University Riverside campus is continuing its work on producing Olivet Seminary’s first lecture series delivered by Dr. William Wagner. The first unit of the series has been sent to Olivet Seminary for review and feedback to plan for the next step.

The theme of the said lecture series is “Church Planting – Perspective from the Book of Nehemiah.” Dr. Wagner uses the book of Nehemiah as the basis for formulating a step by step method for missionaries to start a new church. On one hand, the lectures talk about methodology; on the other hand, Dr. Wagner shares about his mission field experience as examples to help students think about the actionable steps.

Both the academics and media team are collaborating to produce a high-quality product. The media team is working on adding relevant bible images and video clips as visual references in the lectures. Curating the specific images particular to the lecture content does not only depend on the aesthetics but also requires historical and biblical literacy. Sometimes, the content would require moving graphs and texts to be made by graphic designers.

The media team and Olivet Seminary will continue to discuss how to continue making the video lecture project more efficient and sustainable. Discussions have included setting up the proper facility, acquiring equipment and data storage systems, as well as forming a dedicated media and IT support team for this particular project.

DC Journalism Extension Site Builds on Narrative Training

The Olivet School of Media and Communication (OSMC) students will be expecting to see a selection of narrative based offerings as they begin classes at Olivet University’s Washington D.C. extension site.

The site’s course offerings for Winter quarter include Feature Writing, Social Media and Audience Development, Ministry Internship, and Journalism Capstone. For the “Feature Writing” course, students will produce narratives and other creative stories that are built from facts but go beyond the hard news format to engage readers. The course breaks down the process of developing nonfiction narratives, from understanding story theory and structure to mastering point of view. The basic elements as scene, action, and character, to drafting, revising, and editing work are essential skills for journalists in the professional field.

The “Social Media and Audience Development” course will cover strategic content creation, social media analytics tools and user experience. At the end of the course, students will have to design a social media strategic plan for their selected brand.

The “Ministry Internship” and “Journalism Capstone” are specially designed for senior journalism students. In collaboration with media companies in Washington D.C., students will be producing journalistic pieces and media products that are fit for publication.

OSMC’s Washington D.C. extension site offers selected courses from the B.A. and M.A. in Journalism program as well as Non-degree, 1-year certificate programs in Advanced News Writing, Multimedia Journalism, and Digital Journalism. The site also provides internship opportunities and limited residential capacities. For more information, visit https://osmc.olivetuniversity.edu


Journalism Students Delve into Publication Layout and Design in News Editing Course

In the final week of the news editing course offered by Olivet School of Media and Communication (OSMC), journalism students studied the fundamentals of publication layout and design.

Publication design, whether on the web or in print, is as important as the news articles. In addition to the stories and images being powerful, they must be arranged in a way that is appealing and engaging. Design, the visual arrangement of stories, headlines, photos, videos and graphics on the page or screen should stand for the information itself. Extensive knowledge of design for an editor enables him to envision the design ahead and helps him in better planning and packaging the news.

Some basic design principles are widely used by web and print publications, such as visual anchor, contrast, proportion, balance, harmony/unity and the careful use of white (or empty) space. The goal of using these principles is to help readers establish a sense of priority on the information, simplify the process of absorbing the news and save readers’ time.

The design also speaks a lot about the brand. For example, the Wall Street Journal and Time magazine are strongly text-based, with small headlines and long columns of type, which generally suggests intellectual seriousness and constraint. USA Today and Wired magazine, on the other hand, are interactive and colorful. They are clearly targeted to the younger web-based generation. No matter what style of design is chosen, the key to maintaining the brand message is consistency.

To understand more about the use of typography and its effect, journalism students watch the PBS documentary “Helvetica” during class. The film further broadens students’ understanding of the role of graphic design in editing.


Journalism Students Sharpen Word Usage Skills in Editing Class

Olivet School of Media and Communication (OSMC) students are sharpening their word usage skills in the “Editing and News Judgement” class this Fall Quarter. The “Editing and News Judgment” course aims to help future journalists master grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Realizing the fact that meaning does not reside in words alone but also in the way words are organized, journalism students at OSMC are training themselves in the right vocabulary usage through the class.

During the lectures, the course instructor pointed out some of the most common grammar mistakes in American journalism such as the agreement of pronouns and antecedents, essential or nonessential clauses, verb tenses, misplaced modifiers, dangling participles as well as sentence fragments and run-ons. Even the most grammar-savvy writer may fall into these grammar traps until the copyeditor points them out.

In addition, a major part of the course is to have students familiarize themselves with the Associated Press (AP) Style writing – an international journalism standard required for reporters and editors. What journalists call “style” is a body of guidelines that ensures consistency in presenting information to the public. Style addresses spelling and punctuation. For instance, the AP Stylebook states that numbers one through nine should be spelled in the article but numerical figures should be used for 10 and above.

“After all, a good article is beyond grammar and styles. Bringing a concrete and specific image to the audience should be one of the most important goals for editors. Some of the practical tips for improving your writings include using strong active verbs instead of passive voice, tightening sentences by eliminating redundancy, adopting good quotes, cleaning up jargon, slangs and clichés,” said the instructor.

Students have many opportunities to practice writing and editing in this course. They find it very useful and have gained much insight into the nature of an editor’s work.


Media Communication Students Explore Editing: As Much an Attitude as a Group of Skills

Journalism students at Olivet School of Media and Communication (OSMC) discussed the role of editors in today’s newsroom during the Editing and News Judgment class. Editors play a very important role in the newsroom. Like it is said, “With great power comes great responsibility,” students are reminded of their responsibility as future editors.

The role of an editor is to verify and oversee the content to maintain accuracy, impartiality, and ethicality before an article is published. In the era of multimedia, the format and the content of the news should also be carefully planned to reach the audience in each media platform.

In order to perform the day-to-day tasks efficiently in fast-paced newsrooms, editors must familiarize themselves with the editing techniques such as determining the news value, verifying the facts, polishing the lead, erasing redundant words, checking the spelling, grammar, and punctuation based on the stylebook, and the like. Above all, one of the very first qualities that an editor should possess is having the right attitude.

“Good editors are the ones who put the interest of the public first, making sure that the citizens know what they need to know to make informed choices in a democratic society,” said the instructor Eunice Or.

According to Cecilia Friend and Don Challenger, authors of Contemporary Editing, the four essential aspects of professional editing include – a sense of news judgment, a knowledge of the audience, a commitment to fairness and ethics, a dedication to standards of consistency and reliability.

“Editing is as much an attitude as it is a group of technical skills. The attitude provides the foundation upon which the skills can be developed; the skills, in turn, sharpen the attitude,” the authors wrote.

Many students who used to believe that editing is a very mundane work are being challenged to change their perspectives and rethink their purposes as future journalists.


Journalism Students Brainstorm Ideas for Fall Quarter Capstone Project

Two graduate students at the Olivet School of Media and Communication (OSMC) are conducting research on news topics in order to prepare for their journalism capstone project in the Fall quarter.

Journalism Capstone is the very last course that graduate journalism students would take before graduation. Through this Master’s project, students must demonstrate a mastery of journalism knowledge and skills that they have undertaken from previous courses. The final product of the journalism capstone should be a series of ready-to-publish articles with at least 5,000 words, based on extensive reporting, research and interviews.

Sarah Murugan, a student at Olivet University’s Washington D.C. campus, has proposed to do a series on cultural issues revolving around churches and Christians in India. Christians in India are religious minorities often facing persecution due to the anti-conversion law and extreme Hindu groups.

Though persecution is an important issue in Indian churches, there are also other topics that are newsworthy yet less-covered by the media. For example, how born-again Christians in India can cope with their culture that is deeply rooted in Hinduism, the impact of Pentecostal movement on churches in India, how to outreach to numerous indigenous people groups in this multilingual and multicultural country. Murugan will focus on one of these topics.

Olivet University Riverside campus student Kristina Ran will be working on topics related to Chinese churches. In light of the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong which has occupied the top headlines in the international media, Ran would like to examine how this issue may affect the Chinese churches and Christians both in mainland China and abroad.

Both students are looking forward to challenging themselves intellectually, academically and professionally through this capstone project.


Olivet’s Media School to Revamp its Official Website

The Olivet School of Media and Communication (OSMC) plans to revamp the school’s website. It is one of the goals scheduled to be fulfilled for the year 2019.

OSMC’s program director, Washington D.C. campus director, content provider, and web designer have come together to form a task force to brainstorm concepts for the new website. On top of aesthetics and branding, easy-to-follow navigation is put into consideration in order to help prospective students find the information that they need. The new website will also showcase current students’ life and academic work in more effective ways.

“OSMC has developed and grown in the last few years. We have implemented new curricula, introduced new courses, and opened a new campus at Washington D.C. It’s time for a new website to present our school,” said OSMC program director Eunice Or.

The new website project is now in its preliminary planning stage. The goal is to create a sitemap and produce a draft of the web content by the early Fall Quarter. The new website will be launched by the end of October 2019.


OSMC Updates Graduate Program, MDiv-MA Journalism Joint Program Curricula

Olivet School of Media and Communication (OSMC) has updated its graduate journalism programs for the academic year 2019-2020, placing more emphasis on multimedia skills training.

The existing Master of Arts in Journalism curriculum consists of the following courses under the required “Skills” category: JOUR540 Audio and Video Production, JOUR601 Multimedia Journalism, JOUR603 Feature Writing, JOUR609 Advanced Writing and Reporting and JOUR610 Newsroom Management. JOUR560 Photography and Photo Editing and JOUR606 Social Media and Audience Development, which used to be elective courses, will be added to replace the two upper-level writing courses.

There has been an ever-increasing demand for media professionals to have strong multimedia skills. Basic photography, photo editing and social media are essential rather than optional capabilities in the industry today. With some fundamental training in visual media, students can gain confidence in producing engaging and interactive digital contents for the audience.

The curriculum change also applies to the Master of Divinity – Master of Arts in Journalism Joint Degree Program, which is a cross-disciplinary collaboration between Olivet Theological College & Seminary (OTCS) and OSMC. The 5 courses under the required “Skills” category in the joint degree program will be updated accordingly.

The MDiv-M.A. Journalism joint degree program is uniquely designed to equip students with professional journalism skills and strong theological background to communicate the message of God effectively with the world. It offers diverse career paths for graduates to serve within the church in a pastoral role of media organizations as journalism professionals.

Each summer, OSMC faculty committee conducts an annual curriculum review to evaluate student learning outcomes in each course and whether overall program goals have been attained by each curriculum. The committee has concluded that over 80% of the outcomes and goals are satisfactorily met.

All curricula changes will be effective from the 2019 Fall quarter.